Monthly Archives: November 2018

The KE0VH Hamshack for November

November 26, 2018
By

November 2018                     

BUSY Fall SO FAR!  The weather turned wintry in Denver the week of October 8th!   An ice storm above 6500 feet, which of course effected Denver area broadcasters, then a 60 plus degree day, then a Sunday not out of the 20’s, then a week of clear sunny skies and 50’s to 60’s.  I LOVE COLORADO on the front range!

Now for the Monday Night SBE Chapter 73’ Of The Air, we are on the web with the live stream of the Rocky Mountain Radio League repeaters at: https://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/25448/web. If you can’t check into the NET please listen in there and then email me that you are listening over the internet, and I will count that as a check in!

Details on how to join us on the NET are at 

http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html.

As many may or may not know, I am doing a radio show on WFLI Chattanooga Tennessee as they have gone back to their 60’s and 70’s Top 40 roots.  I am loving doing it for fun as an almost screaming Top 40 DJ really up tempo delivery like back in the day.  I’m on from 10-1a Eastern, 8-11 mountain with the same kind of fun we had back then!  With the setup in the Hamshack voice tracking is easy and pretty quick.  I was asked to show how I am doing it.  I get the logs from the FLI guys, then cold track them as the automation system they have at this time doesn’t have remote tracking capability.  I remember the music and can even preview a song thru my collection or hear it off YouTube these days J.

I am using Audacity as the recorder, Radio DJ for playing bits and drops, and the 3rd computer on the left for internet information and such.  A pretty functional radio studio as well as hamshack and flight simulator setup!  See this edition for the Flight Sim Setup:  http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201804April.pdf .

The voicetracking setup with the Heil Classic Pro microphone, Radio DJ computer using the “Instant Player” feature for playing drops and bits, essentially as a “cart” machine!

The log for the midnight hour and a voice track below in Audacity

Check it out the station when you can at:

www.WFLIOnline.com

And this is really cool!  The week of 11/14-17 I will be doing my show live from the WFLI control room in Chattanooga as I am taking time to visit my mom in the area and stopping in to have some fun ON AIR LIVE! 

Now the cool thing about this is that this is the very first Control Room I EVER WORKED in radio!  The station itself is largely unchanged over the years, and so it will be very nostalgic and fun!  I will post pictures here in a newsletter article soon, and even a video aircheck on my YouTube channel (I hope!)

MANY MANY things are going on in amateur radio in the KEØVH base and mobile hamshacks.  I am back into operating some DMR with the addition of the Zumspot DMR Hotspot.  Lots of activity with these very small and compact, plus easy to operate units when you can’t hit a DMR repeater or you are mobile using the hotspot thru the cell phone hotspots.

It sounds a bit complicated but really isn’t.  The little Zumspot is available thru HRO, and of course it isn’t the only offering available.  DMR to me had been troublesome and not really very effective with operating around Denver, with the exception of the RMHam (Rocky Mountain Ham) groups linked repeater systems around the state, but they are not hooked into the Brandmeister world wide networks to facilitate for instance talking to Kenny K4KR in the Chattanooga Tennessee area.

SO with the sale of several pieces of gear and a couple of radios, I was able to get some new gear for the KEØVH Mobile hamshack.  The first is the Yaesu FTM-400 true dual band Yaesu Fusion rig with built in GPS and APRS.  I absolutely love this radio with the 3.5 inch touch screen.  Menus are easy to navigate, something I have found that almost all Yaesu radios have in common.  50 watts out makes it a mobile with punch on both UHF and VHF.  APRS is fully operational in one band while monitoring on another frequency on the other.  This includes the digital Fusion C4FM system that is operational in many repeaters around the country.  You can also do DMR with this rig and a hotspot that translates the Fusion system to DMR.  With the screen size too it makes viewing during mobile operation really easy.  There are so many features available with this rig you need to check it out for yourself.  The faceplate is totally mountable to your dash in many configurations, or however you may want to do so.  It comes with a separation cable I have mounted my radio under the seat with the control head on a dash mount easily viewable.  The microphone plugs into the main radio, and not the control head, so that was one possible negative as you don’t have a lot of standard cable length to play with.  However, you may obtain a Yaesu factory microphone extension, but it is kind of pricey.  HRO actually has an aftermarket extension cable that they offer for much much less.  I bought one of these and am really pleased with the length and quality.  Works great in my installation.

The FTM-400 control head with dual band display.

As you see in the picture above, another great feature not selected here is a bandscope.  The radio will also with its onboard GPS will display altitude, number of GPS satellites in view, and more.

The APRS function of this radio being built in is surely a really big deal.  It will also display the information, distance to, and direction from the station being received.

HEY! It’s my buddy Robert KC8GPD with a status beacon just sent

A shot of the screen with me talking to Kenny K4KR using the radios Yaesu Fusion to DMR function of my hotspot utilizing simplex 446.075  & digital mode. More on that later!

AND, although there is a normally hefty price tag for this radio, Ham Radio Outlet has it on sale thru the beginning of the year that you simply must check out!

And, I decided to go ahead and get a companion backup rig to the 400, the Yaesu FTM-100, also on sale at HRO.  This radio is a perfect backup and addition to have in the office, and for utility carry around use.  I am actually taking this radio with me on my above mentioned trip to Chattanooga for APRS, beaconing as KE0VH-9, (look for it 11/14 thru 18) Fusion to DMR use with the hotspot (still to come in this article) and for talking on the analog AllStar W4YI repeater in Chattanooga to tie into K1DUN 449.450 in Denver.  This is going to be a fun trip with this radio along in the rental car!

The FTM-100 DR/DE front panel

This radio does basically all the 400 does except isn’t a “true” dual bander, doing only one function and band at a time, with the exception of being able to “Dual Watch”, listening on one frequency and frequently sampling another for a signal.  And, one more limitation, while beaconing APRS, you must manually turn off the APRS modem in a menu, otherwise a beacon could be sent out on the repeater frequency you are talking on.  All the menu functions of the 100 are essentially the same as the 400, without the touch screen.  Easy to get up and operating from the unboxing though.   By the way, this radio and the FTM-400 also include the Yaesu programming cable, and a separation cable for control face units.  The other difference here too is that the FTM-100 faceplate will attach to the radio unit making a single unit radio.  The FTM-400 faceplate control head does not.  It must be used separately.  They both come with control unit mounting brackets and mobile mounting brackets.

I hope that one day in a future firmware version you could program one of the Yaesu microphone buttons to turn the modem on and off.  Good idea for this radio huh?

SO finally, information on the Zumspot hotspot that I have been using with these radios and my TYT MD-380 DMR handheld.  My buddy and colleague Shane KØSDT turned me on to this really cool little unit that runs off USB power.  A wall wart power supply runs mine while in the shack or at home, and mine has a USB socket on it, so I can plug in the USB cable to a USB Battery charge, or a vehicle USB port.  The hotspot will allow you to setup your own simplex or duplex “repeater” on whatever UHF frequency you choose.  I am using a standard UHF simplex repeater frequency of 446.075.  This device will do DMR, D-Star, Yaesu Fusion, Yasue Fusion to DMR crossover mode, PX-25, and a couple of other modes I had never even heard of.   When you power up the unit for the first time, it will send out its own Wi-Fi signal that will allow you to connect to it and begin programming it for how you want it configured.  Then as with most Wi-Fi devices you can store different Wi-Fi connections in the unit so that it will automatically logon to the Wi-Fi at hand.  I have several set in mine, home, office, & cell phone hotspot at this time.  When in a new location it is easy again to get on for instance a hotel or airport Wi-Fi by simply using its on board Wi-Fi to access all configuration functions.  I am really pleased with this unit as well, and being that I had practically given up on DMR because of signal and data issues to many DMR repeaters, this has made me enthusiastic about being able to keep in touch with DMR advances in communications.

My Zumspot hotspot dashboard showing several stations that I talked to via the radio interface.  Kenny K4KR in Chattanooga TN, Shane KØSDT while in Kalispell Montana, and Glenn WN0EHE in the Phoenix Arizona area.

The unit is super compact.  Only 2.75×1.5×1 inch in size.  Note its little antenna.

The hotspot comes with the Zumspot board, a Raspberry Pi-0 board and the antenna.  The operating system and software for Pi-Star is included on a SD-Mini card that comes with the set.  The case you see it in above is extra, but really protects the two boards and is worth the extra $10 or so.  There is also as seen on the right hand side LED indicators for power, mode, receive status, and other functions.  If you would like more information, send me an email, and again these are available thru Ham Radio Outlet.  And of course there are many other hotspot systems in use and for sale you can find on the internet.  But for the price, the versatility, and the modes and ease of use available thru this unit I really like it and really look forward to using this a lot.

My good friend Matt KEØLNU and I got together on a Saturday recently and I rode the motorcycle on a beautiful Saturday to help him tune up his Alpha Delta DX-LP multiband 160 thru 10 dipole.  And of course I got to see his really nicely apportioned shack.  Tuning the antenna with the Sark 110 antenna analyzer went smoothly, and so now since Matt has upgraded to General Class and JUST barely missed the Extra exam, he is going to have a great time operating HF from his awesome home in the mountains NW of Golden Colorado!

The operating position for KEØLNU with the TS-2000. MFJ autotuner, and Heil Microphone!  It really sounds and looks GREAT!

KEØVH looking at the antenna measurements for the KEØLNU antenna via the Sark Plots software

Hey congrats to Harold W6IWI on his find at a local hamfest recently!  A Dentron Clipperton L Linear!

Harold had to replace a couple of resistors and caps, but now all is fine! 

So, I have had an old Alinco DR-570 working well dual band rig but the little incandescent light bulbs behind the display had quit working with age.  So I ordered some LED’s and lo and behold, it lit up beautifully!  Then I thought, well why not do the same with the backlighting on the buttons on the front?  Well the first one went great and the FUNCTION button lit up all pretty! Then on to the next one under the ABX button.  Should have stopped with the screen.  Did something, now the LCD display is all lit up but no numbers or indicators.  Perfectly operating true dual band rig with crossband repeat capability.  Now you just can’t tell what frequency you are on.  Robert KC8GPD decided to take on trying to repair this as I ran out of time.  A new display from a dead radio might do the trick.  So if you know of one…………

AND, seen on the Netflix show “Designated Survivor”.   Just happened to catch this in a scene from that (in my opinion) EXCELLENT SERIES!  Looks like a Baofeng to me, but can’t quite make it out.  Inexpensive prop probably huh?

 

A great article on setting up a node radio for AllStar!  Simply and inexpensively!

http://crompton.com/hamradio/baofeng888/     

 

What would happen if a DJi Drone hit a general aviation aircraft?

See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH0V7kp-xg0&feature=youtu.be

 

Flying a drone, please do it legally and check for TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) areas.  THIS APPLIES TO EVERYONE.  You may be being watched as YOU watch:

https://www.krqe.com/news/balloon-fiesta/hundreds-violate-faa-s-no-drone-fly-zone-at-balloon-fiesta/1510662538

See past editions of the newsletter at:

                                                                    

                                                                     2 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2016/08/

 

3 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2015/08/   

 

4 YEARS AGO

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2014/08/  

 

5 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2013/08/

 

6 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2012/08/

 

                                            Don’t forget the SBE Chapter 73’ Of the Air

AllStar (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) for radio discussions, both

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio.

Details on how to join us are at 

http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html.

 

 I hope

You will be able to join us and share your engineering and

Ham exploits!

 

73’ from “the Shack” & God Be With You!

Clay’s Corner for October 2018

November 9, 2018
By

Clay’s Corner for October 2018

Clay’s Corner

Providing news and views from a broadcast engineers perspective since September 1986

As I write this, in late September, our weather is pretty much back to normal. Much cooler temperatures, showers and breezes, noticeably shorter days and fall colors starting to show.  This past summer was indeed very dry in this area.  In fact we set a record for the driest May through August with just 1 inch of rain.  (Compare that to other places.)  Perhaps the smokiest (is that spelled right?) too with several weeks of breathing the output of BC forest fires.  The fact is, we went almost 3 months without clean air – violating federal smog standards for 87 consecutive days.  The low amount of precip took its toll on many trees.  You can see many of our evergreens that have been killed in the process.  Perhaps proving to some that it does not rain here all the time?

Other regions had their own issues – – California experienced terrible wildfires that will take years to heal.  This picture speaks volumes.  (Note the lights of an on-coming train coming around the curve.)

Hurricane Florence has made a mess of the things on the other coast with epic amounts of rainfall and flooding, power outages and, of course, failures of services and systems we depend on…Radio and TV Stations, Cable TV and Cellular telephone systems.

 

As we move into October, those of us that travel into the mountains of Western Washington are reminded that the ‘Windy Season’ is here.  The big historic October blow took place on Columbus Day in 1962…hopefully this year we won’t have any big storms to deal with.

A friend in Southern California sent me this picture of what it’s like to be heading to the transmitter site, after a wind storm, and finding a tree across the road.

I recall, a few years ago, after a big ‘Blow’ we had about 30 of these down across the road to West Tiger.  It took 3 of us a day just to get the road open.  Yes, I carry a chain saw, as do others that have to go up there this time of year.  Here’s Paul Carvalho, Chief at Bonneville/Seattle, getting in some practice at the KIRO-AM transmitter site on Vashon.

Perhaps by the time you read this, the EAS National Test, on Oct. 3rd, will have come and gone…The first scheduled date was scrubbed due to Florence.  This year’s test is the first one for both EAS and WEA alerting systems.  Will be interesting in how it turns out.  To find out, all EAS Participants are required to file an electronic report.  One wrinkle involved a great bit of Federal timing – EAS Participants had to update security certificates to all their EAS equipment shortly before the big test.  My guess is that some will not do this, meaning that their equipment won’t decode the test message.

On the topic of EAS – We have a committee of folks working on the revision and update of the Washington State EAS Plan – Several are broadcasters from this area.  The major reason for this is to bring our plan into full compliance with the most recent FCC EAS Report and Order.  If you would like to be a part of this process, please let me know.

In August we lost another whose name continues on today.  Jack Moseley passed.  Jack sold the company that we all know, back in 1977.  He was 91.  Could not help but note that his Obit mentioned that he enjoyed HAM Radio, like so many other pioneers in this industry.

It’s long been known that you could easily purchase two-way radios….for very low prices….at a number of on-line locations.  The FCC posted this item the last week in September –

  • TWO-WAY VHF/UHF RADIOS MAY NOT BE IMPORTED, ADVERTISED, OR SOLD IN THE UNITED STATES UNLESS THEY COMPLY WITH THE COMMISSION’S RULES.  Advises retailers and operators that VHF/UHF two-way radios must comply with FCC technical requirements before they may be marketed, imported or operated.  By Advisory. (DA No. 18-980). News Media Contact: Will Wiquist at (202) 418-0509, email: Wiquist@fcc.gov. EB. Contact: Jonathan Garvin at (202) 418-1130, email: Jonathan.Garvin@fcc.gov DA-18-980A1.doc  DA-18-980A1.pdf  DA-18-980A1.txt

 

I could not help but note a recent story written about legendary Seattle Top-40 DJ, Pat O’Day.  In the piece I learned that his dad was a preacher in a Tacoma Church and had a radio ministry on KMO, the station I was associated with from 1966 to 1985.  It would be interesting to know just how many people, whose names we would recognize, were associated with that station.  The piece also mentioned the Spanish Castle, one of Pat’s concert venues during the 60’s.  This was a big dance hall on the NW corner of Kent-Des Moines road and Pacific Highway.  Another path crossing, as I remember playing in a band there…way back when.

In the category of – it was bound to happen – an AM Radio station gets an FM Translator and then asks the FCC if they can turn off their AM.  The FM Translator deal was the FCC’s plan for helping struggling AM stations.  The most recent instance involves KVSL in Show Low, Arizona who proposed to do just that.  They did not propose to turn in their AM license, just turn off their AM ‘from time to time’.  In the end, the FCC said no to the proposa,l saying that it was at odds with their intended goals of AM Revitalization.  The rules are pretty simple – The FM is a translator, and like all translators, operate when the parent station is on the air.  I suspect that other AM radio broadcasters were watching this with a great deal of interest, especially an AM that has relatively poor facilities, or where they could sell the land where their AM tower is located and continue to operate their FM translator.

On the subject of Translators, did you see where a pair of FM translators in the Chicago area recently sold for 3.5 Million?  Wow!  It would not surprise me that in some circumstances the value of an FM Translator could exceed the value of a parent station, especially if that station was a small signal, or daytime only AM.

There are some job openings for Radio Techs in the New York City area that are having issues being filled.  The reason.. the cost of living in the Big Apple.  A similar situation is taking place here in the Seattle area.  Bottom line – Wages for technical workers in Broadcasting have not kept pace with those that do similar work in other technical industries.  Couple this with the number of people who are retiring or passing away…and you have a recipe for some, perhaps painful, adjustments to come for the broadcast industry.

Here’s a look at one of the openings in NYC, in this case, with EMF, that provides an interesting look at what people who do what I do are expected to know how to do (Love that sentence).

Responsibilities
As a Field Engineer, here’s what you will be doing…
•    Evaluate the overall technical operation of facilities within the New York area, and take corrective action as needed, to ensure equipment is functioning.
•    Install, maintain, and repair broadcast equipment (such as audio processors and mixers).
•    Install and maintain microwave and satellite equipment.
•    Regularly operate equipment that regulates the signal strength, clarity, and sound.
•    Maintain knowledge of applicable FCC rules and regulations and ensure all equipment within area of responsibility is operating safely and legally.
•    Analyze and fix technical faults on equipment and systems to the module level.
•    Manage and partner with contract engineers to resolve technical problems.
•    Occasionally, carry out work on non-broadcast equipment (such as electrical generators, air conditioning units, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, etc.) as conditions dictate.
•    Make trips to sites to perform installations or repairs; and EMF headquarters for training or special projects.  The length of these trips varies depending on the specific needs.
•    If assigned, serve as Chief Operator/Engineer for one or more broadcast station(s).

Qualifications
To qualify for this position, here’s what you’ll need….
•    5+ years experience troubleshooting and repairing radio broadcast electronic equipment
•    Good understanding of the components necessary in a broadcast air-chain
•    Understanding of satellite technology
•    Understanding of radio frequency emissions
•    Ability to solder and de-solder electronic components
•    Knowledge of applicable, broadcast-related FCC rules and regulations
•    Proficiency using standard broadcast test equipment, such as VOMs, oscilloscopes, and RF spectrum analyzers.
•    Being highly organized, detail oriented and thorough as very strong skills/traits
•    Personal, relational, friendly
•    SBE Certification highly desirable
•    Candidates currently residing in Central New York preferred

Employment Requirements
•    Must pass a pre-employment background & reference check.
•    Must provide proof of legal authorization to work in the US.
•    Must have a valid driver’s license and an acceptable motor vehicle report.

According to Pew Research –
The audience for nearly every major sector of U.S. news media decreased in 2017. The sole medium that did not experience a decrease was radio. In Pew Research’s “State of the News Media 2017” the fact tank found that while local and network TV, digital-native news sites and daily newspapers saw their audience shrink last year, radio remained steady.
Citing Nielsen data, Pew notes that the overall audience reach for broadcast radio – which includes all formats, not just news – has been at around 90% for the past nine years. Local and network TV news declined 7%, while cable news fell 12%, according to comScore TV Essentials and StationView Essentials data. The audiences for digital-native news sites fell by 5% in terms of monthly unique visitors in 2017, comScore Media Metrix Multi-platform data shows. The biggest loss of audience was the circulation of U.S. daily newspapers, which fell by 11% last year, according to the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM).

Certainly a finding that should make those that own and operate radio stations quite pleased.

News circulated this past month that there were plans to shut down legacy radio signals from WWV and WWVH due to budget  cuts.  Just think – That Atomic Clock you have would be ‘free to roam’.   For more information – Check out –

http://www.arrl.org/news/nist-fy-2019-budget-would-eliminate-wwv-and-wwvh

There is a  petition to request that funding be maintained

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/maintain-funding-nist-stations-wwv-wwvh

As we all know, newspapers are failing at an alarming rate.  Pittsburgh is about to have the distinction of being the largest city in the U.S. without a daily print newspaper, as the city’s Post-Gazette recently announced they will no longer be producing a weekend paper.  This paper began publication 232 years ago.  They did add that they will be publishing a digital edition 7 days a week…..Times do change.  You do remember holding a Seattle PI don’t you?

I recently ran across a piece titled –
“24 things that are considered ‘normal’ in the US but the rest of the world finds weird.”

One of the items has bugged me for a long time – Why do people in the U.S. use the term ‘American’ as if that were an exclusive term, or think that United States and American are interchangeable terms?  The rest of the world finds this weird.  After all, the U.S. is just one country in the Americas.  In my way of thinking Canadians are American’s too.  Most folks from other countries refer to the U.S. as ‘The States’.

Sirius XM Radio says it is buying Pandora in a stock deal valued at $3.5 billion, according to the Associated Press.  The satcaster says buying the pureplay webcaster will allow it to expand its service beyond cars and into homes and other mobile areas.

The after-effects of the Sinclair/Tribune deal continue to simmer.  Perhaps good news, the Inspector General concluded that the FCC didn’t show favoritism in their decision making process.  Now the two parties, that thought they’d have an approved deal are suing each other.  I’ve heard nothing as to the ownership status of the Tribune stations, other than that others are looking at them.
Around here we don’t get a lot of days with blue skies and white puffy clouds.  As I was driving into the KVTI transmitter site recently – I saw this –

No, it’s not your imagination.  The amount of spam phone calls is getting worse.

According to new data from First Orion, a call protection company, the amount of junk calls will reach 46% by mid-year 2019.  And by the end of that year, the amount is projected to finally cross the halfway point, meaning that half of all calls will be spam.

Collecting data from 50 billion calls over the past 18 months, the company was able to shed light on a phenomenon that many people have noticed and lamented: a severe uptick in calls, many of which use “neighborhood spoofing” techniques to entice people to pick up by having a fake caller ID that resembles the caller’s number.

The numbers weren’t nearly this high even a year ago.  In 2017, mobile call scams made up just 3.7% of total call volume.  By 2018, the number had shot up to 29.2% and projections for spam calls look on track to hit half of all call volume next year.

I had a recent experience that was ‘interesting’.  I was driving along when my cellphone rang and my truck’s ‘radio’ announced I was being called by Clay Freinwald.  Knowing that I rarely call myself I instantly knew it was a Robo-Call.  What was interesting was the displayed phone number – 000 000 0000.   Apparently they are able to not only spoof the phone number they are calling from, but they are able to gain access to your address book in your phone and use one of those names to make you think you are receiving a call from someone you know.  Perhaps the good news is that my home phone now rarely gets a Robo-Call as the scammers have shifted their attention to mobile devices.  Despite all the efforts of the FCC, FTC and others…they have done little to stamp out the practice.  Perhaps the sad part is that the fuel that keeps these outfits going is victims that fall for their baloney.  If everyone just hung up they would all go away.  A sad commentary.

Did you see the story about the big transformer that was being moved through Washington?  The media picked up the story about this big piece of electrical equipment and promptly called it a ‘Windmill’ transformer.  I recall having been sternly corrected a few years ago when I called those big machines ‘Windmills’….and being educated to the fact that they don’t mill anything.  They are to be called WIND-GENERATORS.  It was truly a big one – weighing just over 1-million pounds.

KRKO in Everett has been trying to sell their old transmitter site, hoping that some Ham Operator would want the place.  Comes complete with towers and a pretty good sized building…Check out –
https://www.redfin.com/WA/Everett/7115-Larimer-Rd-98208/home/145977378

In a similar category – the 1210 AM transmitter site, east of Auburn, that’s been used for many years as the 1210 ‘Night Site’ is going away.  The owner of the station, Amador Bustos, has received a construction permit to operate Nights at the 1210 Day Site on the west-side of Auburn, with much lower power.  The property owner has put the land on the market (minus the towers that have to be removed).  I was looking through the files on that site and found a purchase order I had signed for those 4 towers back in 1989!  The 10 kW transmitter from that site will be moving to Woodburn, Oregon.  Another example of the retraction of AM radio.

Looks likes Seattle is no longer the nation’s hottest housing market – We’ve been replaced by Las Vegas.  Apparently the folks at the King County Assessor’s office are not moved by this news as my ‘Value Notice’ showed my house value increase by about 5%…In a while I will find out what the 5% means in terms of actual tax increases.  I should add that I live in Auburn, not Seattle.

With that being said – the typical single family home in Vegas goes for just under $300K, while Seattle is at over $800K.

While stopped for my favorite beverage recently I could not help but notice this license plate:

I asked the driver if this was a radio station.  He said no, it was just assigned to him.  The following explains –
https://www.oregonlive.com/cycling/index.ssf/2013/04/share_the_road_license_plates.html
https://bikeportland.org/2007/12/18/first-look-at-oregons-new-share-the-road-license-plate-6216

Just for drill – I looked up KPEB in the FCC Data Base and could not find a station with those letters.

Radio transmitter manufacturer Nautel seems to be doing well of late with the sale of two more FM transmitters for use on Cougar Mt.  Hubbard is getting a new GV10 for use as an Auxiliary for their 98.9 station (The Bull) and Crista is getting a new GV30 for their KCMS/105.3.  The only recent sale for GatesAir (that I am aware of) in this area has been to KNHC (I wrote about that recently).  GatesAir may have an edge over Nautel with their offering of Liquid Cooled FM transmitters.  Liquid cooling has been S.O.P. for TV Transmitters for years.  Thus far I’ve not heard of anyone buying one in this area, however.  Nautel is a Canadian company based in Nova Scotia.  GatesAir is in Illinois.

It’s been a year since Hurricanes Irma and Maria blew into Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, and there are still Radio and TV Stations that have not fully restored operations.  To be exact – The FCC  reports 10 AM stations, 8 FMs and 3 FM translators are currently silent.  That’s in addition to 11 full-power TV stations, 35 low-power TV stations and 3 TV translators.

Another country says goodbye to analog (or in their case, analogue) TV – This time it’s Ukraine.  One exception is the area’s bordering Russia.

Responses to what I have written

I recently posted a picture of a pickup truck tailgate that had a big RAM on the back suggesting it might be taken as an invitation to do just that.  A reader of this column reminded me that those vehicles say DODGE in the front.

Then there was the piece about the FCC Chairman climbing a tower.  A reader suggested that this was ‘Pai in the Sky’.

In response to my list of paraprosdokians, a reader suggested this one – ‘Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like an banana’.

And from John Schneider, who was active in the Seattle SBE Chapter when I started writing this thing – “Glad to see you are still doing your column, after all these years.  Who knew it would last so long when we started?“

I found this survey info to be quite interesting –

According to the 2018 Infinite Dial, 82% of respondents 18+ who have driven or ridden in a car over the past month currently tune into traditional radio in the car.  Likewise, the audio source used most often in-car is radio, at 56%.  Next in line among chosen     audio choices is a CD player, at 49%, then owned digital music (45%), online radio (28%), podcasts (23%) and satellite radio (21%).

Jacobs Media’s 2018 Techsurvey showed FM radio to be the No. 1 feature radio listeners want included in their next car purchase.
My question – Why is it that many vehicle makers want to remove the CD Player from new vehicle radios?

I often write about the radio ratings in Seattle.  This time, a look at the numbers in our neighbor to the south – Portland, Oregon.   First some market stats – Population 2.54 Million (Seattle is now just under 4 million) Market Rank – 22 (Seattle is 13).

  • The #1 Station is KOPB – Oregon Public Radio with an impressive 8.1
  • AM is not doing very well there either with the top rated station (KEX) at #18
  • Like Seattle, there are 3 Sports/Talk stations – All AM’s and 2 Country FM’s

If you recall my last column I wrote about how KNKX’s HD2 actually gathered some ratings with a minimal .1 share.  Portland is, apparently ahead of Seattle in terms of HD Channels getting ratings with THREE HD-2’s and HD-3’s showing…Each with a .8 and one with a .1.  Also ahead of Seattle is the KOPB Stream showing up with a .4.  I don’t know of any Seattle radio stream that has listed ratings.  One more thing.  Remember the call letters KMTT?  Long time letters for Entercom’s 103.7 in Seattle.  They are now ‘parked’ on an Entercom AM in Portland.

Interested in combining your IT skills with Broadcasting?

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The following item was submitted by now retired NWS WCM from Seattle Ted Buehner

What’s the Forecast At My Transmitter Site?

Have you asked that question?  What source do you use to address that question?  Your smart phone weather app? A website? Your weather radio?

Some years ago, I pointed your Corner host Clay Freinwald to the site-specific National Weather Service (NWS) digital weather forecast to answer this question and he has used it ever since.  If you go to your local NWS forecast office website, you will find what Clay is using.  You can also find it on your smart phone by going to mobile.weather.gov, a mobile phone website application that you bookmark.

By using your local NWS forecast office digital weather forecast information, you get forecast information from experienced and local forecasters who live and work in your area.  Other sources like your phone weather app or other websites come from other parts of the country or in one phone app case – Russia!  Many of these resources use purely automated computer forecast output with no human input at all.  This fact helps explain why those weather forecasts ‘seem to be off’ at times.

Clay services many mountain top transmitter sites across mainly Western Washington.  One frequent site for him is West Tiger Mt. – about 20 miles east of Seattle.  The site has elevation of a little over 2500 feet with a great view of Mt. Rainier to the south. [plug in one of your Rainier photos]  So the weather at that higher elevation location is much different than in the lowlands near Puget Sound.

Over the years, Clay learned that the weather around Western Washington differs greatly from one location to another, thanks to the combination of complex terrain and the weather.  Knowing what weather to expect before ever heading to that targeted transmitter site is very important.  For example during the winter season, it can be raining in the Puget Sound area while snowing up at West Tiger.

What does he use again?  He visits http://www.weather.gov/seattle/ and has bookmarked his usual mountain top transmitter site-specific forecast locations for easy access before ever stepping into his vehicle.  It is the old slogan – know before you go, that has served him well over time.  If the weather at the site is going to be inclement, he is prepared for it.  And there have been times when it is snowing at the site, that he postpones that routine maintenance until the weather there improves.

Here is an example of his West Tiger MT 7-day weather forecast off the www.weather.gov/seattle/ web site.  In this particular case, wildfire smoke was widespread throughout much of the region.

But as they say in some television commercials, there’s more!  Upon scrolling down a bit on the page, you get the hourly forecast for that same green box (about one nm x one nm) location.

Yes, that is a hourly forecast for temperatures, wind direction and speed, cloud cover, rain or snow amounts and more!

Has this information sparked your interest?  Can you get the same kind of weather forecast information where you work?  Yes, you can!  There are 122 NWS forecast offices across the country with at least one serving your area.

Start by visiting www.weather.gov to view the whole nation and then click on your neck of the woods – that click will get you to your local forecast office – bookmark that.  Then using the provided clickable forecast map, click on the spot for your transmitter site.  The next page to appear will provide a map with a green box on it – you can zoom in and click one more time if you need to ‘fine-tune’ the location.  Now you have the forecast for that transmitter site.  Scroll down and you can get the hourly forecast for that location as well.  You can bookmark both of these.

 

This process can be done for all your transmitter sites as well as any other desired locations for business or pleasure.  I hope you find this information quite helpful.  As always, when you are weather aware, you are weather prepared.

If you have other weather-related questions that you would like addressed, let Clay know and he will share with me.

Ted Buehner
Meteorologist
Retired – National Weather Service
Washington SECC Vice-Chair

If you are like me, you are always pleased when someone you know wins an award.  In this case…I want to congratulate Jeff Welton of Nautel on being named SBE Educator of the year.  I’ve known Jeff for many years.  Our first encounter was by telephone, dealing with an issue with an AM transmitter close to 30 years ago.  At that time, he was a customer service tech with the firm.  Later he moved into sales, becoming central U.S. sales manager, but, along the way, has made it a point to reach out and teach others about how to do it better at their transmitter plants.  I was chatting with Jeff most recently and he was telling me about a day-long technical session he was involved with in the U.P. of Michigan.  They had a great turn-out with engineers that are unlikely to go to the NAB show in the spring.  The subject matter was broad ranging and I could tell that he was abundantly pleased that he could share some of his knowledge with those that are unlikely to gain it any other way.  Those of you that know Jeff will agree that SBE is honoring a person who richly deserves it.

Really….Is it that time already?  I recently received word that the 2019 NAB Show hotel block is now open.  Prices in their promotional piece range from $257 at the Aria Resort and Casino to $190 at the Westgate (formally the Hilton, next to the Convention Center) to $119 at Harrahs,  Of course, the further you go from the Contention Center the lower the price.

Tim Moore, Transmitter Engineer for Sinclair in Seattle found a file folder full of wonderful historic pictures of KOMO Radio and TV.   See it here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShToFTzMNTY

I’ve written about Smart Speakers quite a bit for the simple reason that they might be the only radio in a person’s home these days.  I know that this is the case with a young relative of mine.  So here are some of the latest news items in that world –

  • Ownership of these gizmos is rapidly growing – Now some 32% of consumers own one.  (Would be interesting to compare that growth curve to other consumer electric devices from the past)
  • Recent projections show that 48% of U.S. consumers will own one by the end of this year.
  • And as if this were not enough – 45% of consumers who presently own one, plan to buy another by the end of the year.
  • So what are people using them for?

Music – 70%
Weather forecast – 64% (So much for NOAA Weather Radio)
Fun questions – 53%
Online searches – 47%
Checking the news – 46%
Making a call – 36%
Research or information searches – 35%
Asking directions – 34%
Ordering items – 30%

  • How many people who have one are actually using them?

Using it more – 76%
Using it daily – 71%
More than once a day – 44%

Amazon, our locally based giant – is fully on board with all of this with their Echo products with a recent release of a number of new products – including items for when you are on the go, in a vehicle.

I did have an interesting thought or two about all of this –

  • What happens if you already have a person in your home named Alexa?
  • Wonder how many children will end up with that name?

I love this quote –

Susie Dent – ‘The joy of dictionaries is that they provide you with dozens of answers you were never looking for’.

Here are some words to ponder –
confelicity – The joy you experience when witnessing someone else’s happiness; the near opposite of Schadenfreude
scurryfunging – Term that describes the frantic rushing around the house we perform in a crazed effort to tidy up before guests arrive
absquatulate – To leave somewhere abruptly
clinomania – The overwhelming desire to lie down
mumpsimus – Someone who rigidly sticks to their opinions despite being proved wrong
quiddle – to waste time on trivial matters in order to avoid doing more important things.

Which aptly describes what we have just done

That’s it for this month….My brain has gone from empty to something more extreme.

Lord willing – I’ll have another installment next month in most of these same locations.

In the meantime – Your comments and pictures are always appreciated.

Don’t forget to Fall-Back.

Clay, K7CR, CPBE
SBE Member for over 50 years, #714

 

 

 

 

 

The KE0VH Hamshack for October

November 9, 2018
By

October 2018

 

Welcome to Fall!  To start off with, I want to congratulate Matt KEØLNU for his BEAUTIFUL blue LED display Kenwood TS-2000, which he bought from a ham in Louisiana from the QTH.com classifieds section

REALLY GREAT LOOKING SCREEN!  I may do this myself for mine!

There was a lot of work done on the KEØVH QTH the past couple of months, we had new windows, siding, and a roof installed.  Then I had to paint the exterior with 2 coats, BEFORE the work on antenna’s and upgrading some of the hamshack ops were done.  Looks beautiful and ready for winter!

So with that, one beautiful late day in September, Harold W6IWI came over and we put up the Alpha-Delta DX-LB Plus 160 thru 10m dipole for the KEØVH antenna farm.  It fits my space at 100 feet long with loading coils along its length for 80 and 160 meters, in a fan dipole configuration for 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters.  I ordered mine from HRO (https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-005123) and it arrived in a few days, then with busy weekends on the house had to wait a bit for getting set up.

W6IWI unreeling the antenna and separating the fan section elements

 

KEØVH Hoisting up!

Hoisted up to about 25 feet.  Yes is needs to be more but for now this is its home.  Is quieter than the vertical and tunes fairly well on all bands!

Plus its much quieter on receive than the vertical.  And since the work on the house was done, it was time to remount the 6 meter/dual band j-pole antenna pole (after sitting on the ground for the past couple of months, see last month’s article).  Once again Harold W6IWI came over on a Sunday afternoon with a mount that he had in his junk box and helped me get the antenna back up and properly mounted to the hardibacker siding we had installed.

Installed and it ain’t goin’ nowhere!  That Hardibacker is tuff stuff!

You may remember from a previous hamshack article the “lazy susan” rig for tilting my 5 BTV vertical antenna.  To see that go to: http://www.ke0vh.com/hamshack/archives/TheKE0VHHamshack201703Mar.pdf  .  I have been wanting to improve on that for some time so I thought and thought about it, and after looking at some commercial offerings (pretty pricey all the way around I came up with this:

A couple pieces of zinc coated angle iron (cut from 1 piece purchased at the Home Depot, some self-tapping screws and some planning resulted in a much sturdier, MUCH less expensive tilt mount for a vertical antenna!

The beauty here is that it will tilt both directions to make the coax mounting point easily accessible!  COOL and STURDY!  AND did I mention Inexpensive?  

Harold W6IWI with the antenna tilted 1 direction, then….

Tilted the other way!  Really more versatile than anything commercially I have seen!  KEØVH designed homebrew!

Also in the month of September my wife and I hiked 11,000 foot Estes Cone, seen here from the trailhead at Lily Lake just west of Estes Park CO.  14’ner Longs Peak is to the left in this pic.  Lots of fun but PAIN coming down.  The last .7 mile is very steep up the rocky slope of the summit.  Ham Radio fun here as with my TYT handheld I could hit the 449.450 repeater back in Denver and worked W9BNO, K0GPA, and KC8GPD.  Great day with my wife and ham radio!

 

KEØVH ON THE SUMMIT!

My good friend Lee NØVRD submitted this recently.  3D printing a KU Feed horn!  Will let you know how this works out.  What a cool idea!

And, seen on an episode of “Star Trek Enterprise”!

An alien version of a Heil Classic Pro?  J  Really interesting they should use this!

And, I got this “fortune” at a local Chinese Restaurant during lunch with my wife!  We HAD to LAUGH!  Only ME!

AND, FINALLY, Ham Radio across the Colorado Connection repeaters back to Rich W9BNO in Denver from 11,000 feet Castle Peak north of Eagle Colorado!  What a great Field Day site someday!

See past editions of the newsletter at:

                                   2 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2016/08/

                                   3 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2015/08/   

                                   4 YEARS AGO

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2014/08/  

                                   5 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2013/08/

                                  6 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2012/08/

Don’t forget the SBE Chapter 73’ Of the Air

AllStar (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) for radio discussions, both

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio.

Details on how to join us are at 

http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html.

 

 I hope You will be able to join us and share your engineering and Ham exploits! 

73’ from “the Shack” & God Be With You!

 

The KE0VH Hamshack for August and September

November 8, 2018
By

August & September 2018

Greetings all, this has been a CRAZY couple of months so we are going to revisit in part a couple of writings from last year.  I have had a lot of questions about AllStar for ham radio, so I want to look back at a previous article and include it again for informational purposes.

As you may know now we have a new AllStar remote base that ties into the 449.450 HUGE area coverage repeater in Denver.  It has now become our main base of operations both locally and thru AllStar.  It connects on command to the 46079 AllStar Skyhub system so that other AllStar nodes can connect into the hub and come out on 449.450 locally here in Denver.  There is a web interface that I will share with you if you want to connect to use here in Denver.  We are affiliated with the Rocky Mountain Radio League and I want to thank Dunnigan, K1DUN President and repeater trustee for allowing us to set up the Remote Base connection to 449.450.

Setting up a portable AllStar node for being able to get back into the Denver K1DUN 449.450 repeater and the Denver AllStar Skyhub (Skyler, KDØWHB) is something I have had a as a project for this summer.  Skyler has been so instrumental is setting up AllStar systems for myself and other folks here in Denver and we really appreciate the time and expertise of this fine young engineer.  Skyler has spent a lot of time experimenting and perfecting the software setup and hardware to make all of this work.  So one day he and I got together after I had gathered all the parts and he helped me to get my portable simplex node going.  I gathered up a Raspberry Pi3, a Syba USB CMedia CM119 Sound adapter, and a Yaesu VX-170, to use as a portable AllStar node (46372) for connecting to the AllStar systems via WiFi.  I am planning on using this when on the road thru my iPad hotspot, or in the hotel rooms I stay in thru their WiFi or Ethernet.  There are a lot of directions on how to do this available, but Skyler has figured out how to use these ($5 on Amazon) Syba sound cards instead of buying some of the $50 or more interfaces available.  Very simply done too.  The Raspberry Pi3 has on board WiFi so it can connect to the internet.  The soundcard is the interface to the radio for the transmit and receive audio, and the PTT to the radio.  The VX-170 I had on hand had a proper 4 conductor mini plug along with the interface wiring from an earlier data project.  The same line off the radio for mic audio had a capacitor and resistor already attached for the PTT thru the resistor and passing the audio down the line.  This speaker mic cable by the way, like just about everything else can be obtained thru Amazon.  Many other radios are usable and adaptable to this system.  Here soon it will be my intention to do a full “how to” write up on how we setup my node.

This is my schematic for the pinout on the waterproof cable for the Yaesu VX-170.  As you can see in the schematic below, I had already installed a capacitor and resistor on the cable from an earlier project for data in and out of the radio, so we incorporated that into the schematic for the Syba USB soundcard interface.  Skyler showed me how he had wired up the soundcard for past projects and he did a beautiful job putting the components in and getting them to fit into the case of the Syba as the pictures will show.

The Schematic for interfacing to the VX-170.  This interface should work for most radios, the cap/resistor upper right is for the VX-170 combined mic/PTT line from the radio:

$5.00 soundcard from Amazon.  Must be the CM108 or 119 Chip

One of the connections to the Syba USB soundcard, takes a little bit of care in soldering to the pins on the chip

 

The final component layout all connected to the soundcard and plugged into the Raspberry Pi3

Another view of the soundcard and Pi3

Since the Yaesu VX-170 is a 2 meter radio only, I am using a 2 meter frequency

coordinated for using as a simplex repeater node.  This also makes powering the easy as you can put 12 volts directly into the battery charging port.  I will be including pictures of the setup into a carry case in a later edition of “The Hamshack”.

The testing setup, using a Baofeng radio to test into the VX-170

Testing the node on the network at home

Another way to connect into the AllStar system is thru your cell phone!  It is a portal that will connect into whatever AllStar node/repeater you want to dial into.  Just think of it as a remote audio link to your radio, repeater, or connection into the AllStar system.  I have used this thru my motorcycle helmet blue tooth communicator into my iPhone to connect into the local Denver repeater or Skyler’s Skyhub.  Jeremy, N5JER showed me how to set up an automated dialer contact in my phone to one button dial like a regular phone number.  When you dial into the phone portal you must tell it what node you wish to connect to, your personal PIN number (given to you when you register with AllStar) and whether or not you want to use VOX or a command to “PTT”.  You can program this into your cell phone contacts.

My cellphone dialed into the KDØWHB AllStar hub (Node 46079).  You can see part of the automated dialing process, (my pin blocked out) easily done on a cell phone.  Once again, just think of it as a “long mic cord” to a radio system!

And below you can see the AllStar connection chart with the phone connected:

To use the phone portal, you must register with AllStar (https://allstarlink.org/).  You don’t have to setup a node or do anything other than register if you want.  Then even where there is no coverage by radio, repeater, or AllStar repeater you can get into whatever node you wish.  VERY COOL SYSTEM!

Thanks again Skyler!

And another radio prop from the FX series “The Americans”, A Hallicrafters receiver used by the “Russian” consulate in the series.  COOL PROP!

 

Thanks to Rich W9BNO for spotting this in Colorado during the VHF contest weekend!  Looks like this guy is ready to mountain top for sure!

The KEØVH 6 meter beam and dual band 2m/440 J-pole down for maintenance while the QTH gets new siding and painting.  Unfortunately this occurred during the VHF contest weekend. It does provide though a good chance to maintenance the antenna as it hasn’t been down in a few years.  Maybe almost 10!  All looks good as it will go back up when the siding and painting of the house is done in September.

Take a look at this.  Robert KC8GPD, who is a low power Part 15 enthusiast, has this beautiful little AM station on the air from his home in the Denver area.  Robert is a great radio engineer and assists me in the area that I work in, and really has the understanding of the FCC rules for low power unlicenced operation according to the FCC Part 15 rules for unlicensed stations.  More hobby than anything, many regular broadcast stations would be envious of his well appointed setup!

Roberts “control room” for his Part 15 AM, WOW!

Garden House AM and KC8GPD, Robert

The transmitting antenna and transmitter, plus official rules box at bottom of the support pole.  The part 15 station SOUNDS GREAT!

As seen ONLY in Wyoming!  Or maybe Nebraska!  J

And finally, thanks to Jim KCØRPS

See past editions of the newsletter at:

 2 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2016/08/

 

3 YEARS AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2015/08/

 

4 YEARS AGO

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2014/08/

 

5 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2013/08/

 

6 Years AGO:

http://www.smpte-sbe48.org/wp/2012/08/

  

Don’t forget the SBE Chapter 73’ Of the Air

AllStar (and Echolink) Hamnet, every MONDAY EVENING

At 7pm Mountain time (9pm Eastern) for radio discussions, both

Broadcast engineering and amateur radio.

Details on how to join us are at 

http://www.ke0vh.com/net/net.html.

 

You will be able to join us and share your engineering and

Ham exploits! 

73’ from “the Shack” & God Be With You!